Is Walleye a Bottom Feeder?: Sixers Take on Blazers in Season Opener

Is Walleye a Bottom Feeder?: Sixers Take on Blazers in Season Opener

Professional basketball officially tips off for the Philadelphia 76ers
in the Northwest tonight, as the boys take on the Portland Trailblazers
in the season opener. There were five marquee league games on national
TV yesterday, with show-stopping performances from the likes of Carmelo
Anthony, LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Chris Paul, but we all know the
old saying—the NBA season doesn't really start until Jodie Meeks
attempts to take Wesley Matthews off the dribble. Usually it's just a
metaphor, but tonight, it is a reality.

You know how we've been saying all two-week-long off-season about how
the Sixers have been in stark contrast to the whole league in how
they've brought their whole team back and not rocked the apple cart in
any meaningful way? The contrasting example to this would have to be the
Portland Trailblazers. Their one-time franchise player (Brandon Roy)
retired for medical reasons, their one-time back-up franchise player
(Greg Oden) proved again that he may never be able to play a game of
hopscotch without shattering three ligaments, they swapped point guards
with the Nuggets (bye bye Andre Miller, hello Raymond Felton) and added a high-profile gunner (Sixth Man of the Year winner Jamal Crawford).

Much is different with the Blazers, yet much is still the same—they
remain a deep, talented, well-coached team that lacks conventional star
power and is likely destined to lose in the first round of the playoffs
for the umpteenth straight year. In this, they are something of a
kindred spirit to our own 76ers. So it will be striking a blow not only
for our team and the city of Philadelphia, but for all Eastern
Conference slightly-above-averageness with a win tonight. If that
doesn't get the boys riled up, I don't know what will.

10:00 tip from the Rose Garden in PDX. Hands in the middle, guys. 'Dre,
as longest-tenured Sixer and unofficial team leader, you got anything
you want to say?


Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have signed former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn to a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old defenseman had four goals and 12 assists in 72 games with the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings last season. Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier were traded by the Flyers to the Kings last January in exchange for Jordan Weal and a third-round draft pick in last month's entry draft.

In his career, Schenn has 28 goals and 100 assists in 566 games with the Kings, Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs. In three-plus seasons with the Flyers, Schenn scored 12 goals and added 30 assists.

Schenn was the first-round draft pick - fifth selection overall - by the Maple Leafs in 2008.

Coyotes general manager John Chayka called Schenn "a good, young defenseman" who will be "a solid addition" to the Arizona blue line.

- contributed to this story.

Cameron Rupp leaves game vs. Pirates after getting hit in head by pitch

Associated Press

Cameron Rupp leaves game vs. Pirates after getting hit in head by pitch

Updated - 5:55 p.m.

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp left the game in the third inning after being struck on the left ear flap of his batting helmet by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow.

Rupp walked off the field under his own power and backup catcher Carlos Ruiz pinch ran for him and stayed in the game to catch starter Aaron Nola.

The Phillies later announced Rupp was removed from the game as a precaution and that he showed no symptoms of a concussion.

Less than 24 hours before, Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco was hit in the wrist by a pitch thrown by Pirates starter Gerrit Cole in Friday's 4-0 victory at PNC Park. Franco left the game and did not start on Saturday afternoon. He's listed as day to day (see story).

In the first inning on Saturday, Rupp hit into an inning-ending ground out. He is hitting .276 with 10 home runs in 63 games.

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (see lineup).

Franco was hit by a pitch from the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in the first inning of the Phillies’ 4-0 victory then was removed after hitting a single in the third inning (see story).

“He’s still sore,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. “He’s day to day. Maybe he will be back in the lineup (Sunday).

Franco suffered a fracture of the same wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.

Andres Blanco is taking Franco’s place in the lineup after having two hits Friday night when he replaced the third baseman. Blanco is hitting .264 with three home runs in 73 games this season and is reportedly drawing some interest from contending teams looking to add bench help.

“I could see why he would be a desirable player,” Mackanin said. “We’re not going to give him away, though, if we do trade him. He’s played very well for us.”